TransGas pumping station explodes, burns near Prud'Homme
No one hurt, RCMP evacuated 3-km area around pumping station while fire crews work to put out blaze
RCMP said a TransGas pumping station near Prud'Homme, 70 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon, exploded Saturday, and a fire continues to burn at the site.
Fire departments from Prud'Homme and Vonda are on scene and working with TransGas employees, but they have yet to be able to move onto the site and are working to contain the fire.
TransGas is the pipeline transmission and storage subsidiary of the Saskatchewan crown corporation.
Dave Burdeniuk, a spokesman for SaskEnergy, confirmed to CBC News that the fire was continuing to burn Saturdayat the pump station.
Burdeniuk said the station is home to seven caverns and the wellhead, which controls putting gas in to and taking gas out of the caverns. One cavern had a release of gas, and it was that release that ignited.
"That fire has caused damage, obviously to the wellhead and the building that is over top of the wellhead," he said, adding that he believes there is also damage to the surrounding area, but crews have not yet been able to assess it.
Emergency systems engaged at site
According to Burdeniuk, the emergency system setup in the station worked as it was supposed to. It isolates and shuts down the other caverns located there.
"That gas was then vented to the atmosphere safely, and we've set up a perimeter one mile around that facility just to keep anyone away. We're working with first responders and the priority right now is to get that fire out," he said.
Burdeniuk said that no one was at the station at the time of the fire, because it is an automated station, so no one was injured.
It may have to burn for a while before we can safely get in and get that fire out.- Dave Burdeniuk, spokesman for SaskEnergy
"We would only ever have people in here evenings or weekends if it was minus 40 out, just to make sure the system would be working in winter time," he said.
He said this station was not currently supplying anyone in the province with natural gas.
RCMP have evacuated the area within a three-kilometre radius of the pumping station as a precaution. According to SaskEnergy, there are about six farms affected.
Burdeniuk said with the perimeter that has been set up, there is no danger to anyone outside that area, but he doesn't know how much longer the gas will be burning.
"I don't know how full this cavern was, so I don't know how long this fire can burn for," he said.
"It may have to burn for a while before we can safely get in and get that fire out."
Local roadways have been closed, but all highways in the area remain open.
The RCMP and SaskPower are asking the public to stay away from the site.